#65 Digitize Your Old Photos

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#65

Digitize Your Old Photos

Every time I think of this task – one that remains always on my ‘to do’ list – I find something else that has a much higher priority; often watching reruns of Game of Thrones. It seems that anything would be better than attempting the gargantuan job of digitizing my collection of photographs. The fact that I have a huge collection certainly dates me as anyone in their twenties or younger barely remembers the challenge of buying film, taking a photo, and then remembering to drop it off to be developed. For those of you still thinking about the money you spent to print all those film shots, here are the reasons you’ll want to and a couple of ideas of how to go about it.

Physical photos

Keeping all those photographs takes up space and forces you to be protective of them because paper prints are easily damaged. If you eventually get them out of shoe boxes and into albums, the amount of space they require quadruples. In reality, only a fraction of the photos that we have are keepers. Many of them are random scene shots from a location we visited a decade ago and/or of people we barely knew. As you go through them, if you can’t remember who is in the photo or where it was, discard it.

Share

The best part of having the photos is the ability to share the memory years later. My children loved sitting down and looking at photos of me growing up and they like to reminisce about their own childhood now yet a paper photo is difficult to share unless you are side by side. Digitizing them allows you each to have a copy with ease and the ability to share them with a couple of digital clicks.

Access

Perhaps this is the very best part about digitizing your photo library, it’s available to you at any time and with very little effort. Whether you opt to store them on a flash drive, a hard drive, or the cloud – digital photos only have to be a swipe or click away. While there are varying opinions of cloud storage, I use Google photos and absolutely love it. I know I can’t lose it, it’s available on my phone at all times and it does some pretty cool things like grouping similar faces together so that I can access only photos of the person I want to see.

Digitizing

Now here’s the hard part. Getting all those paper photos into digital format… There are several options if you have the time, it’s probably better to do it yourself. That way you can ‘clean out’ the ones you don’t want and/or send along paper copies to those who may love them the most. You can do it with a scanner designed exclusively for photos (the easiest way), with a regular scanner [the one incorporated with your printer] or you can use a smartphone app. All of these methods will take some time and dedication.

Or… you can pay someone else to do it. A service like GoPhoto.com or ScanCafe.com will do it for you if you send them your photos/slides/negatives and there are local brick and mortar services in most areas as well. Some allow you to bring whole photo albums in and will do the tedious work for you!

No matter the direction you opt to take, the benefit will be great as you realize the joy of being able to stroke the keyboard a couple of times or swipe a couple directions on your phone and access all of your life memories because you made the effort to …

Digitize your photos.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

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